Andrew Jones takes a look at the ACC's slate of games this weekend.
By ANDREW JONESFS South
All times ET
Boston College (1-3) at Army (0-4)
Where: West Point, NY, Michie Stadium (38,000)
The blitz: BC needs a win and Army provides the Eagles an opportunity. Army is struggling, though it will put some points on the board. The key for BC is to get some turnovers to flip the field and put the Black Knights on the defensive. One thing about this game is it will be played in the most beautiful setting in college football.
Pick: BC, 44-26.
Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0) at North Carolina (3-2, 0-1)
Where: Chapel Hill, NC, Kenan Memorial Stadium (62,980)
When: 12:30 p.m.
The blitz: The Hokies are struggling on offense. QB Logan Thomas is completing just 52.7 percent of his passes and his pass efficiency rating is lower than Virginia’s Michael Rocco, who has been benched, and Maryland true freshman Perry Hills, who’s playing because the starter went down for the season in August. If UNC’s fast-break offense can click close to how it has over the last 10 quarters (120 points, 1,300-plus yards), it may be too much for Frank Beamer’s team. UNC will wear all white uniforms, including helmets, in a white out that may increase energy from the norm for an early game.
Pick: UNC, 30-20.
Virginia (2-3, 0-1) at Duke (4-1, 1-0)
Where: Durham, NC, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)
When: 3 p.m.
The blitz: The Cavaliers have been terrible of late. in their last six games against FBS teams, opponents have outscored Mike London’s team 224-106, and the lone victory was by a point over a Penn State team that missed four field goals. Enter Phillip Sims at QB in place of Michael Rocco, and it’s possible Sims can give the Cavs a needed spark. He nearly won the job at Alabama before transferring, and was very highly recruited out of high school. Even though Duke may not have veteran QB Sean Renfree, this game will be won by the Blue Devils more on defense than offense.
Pick: Duke, 23-20.
Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-2) at No. 15 Clemson (4-1, 1-1)
Where: Clemson, SC, Memorial Stadium (81,500)
When: 3:30 p.m.
The blitz: The Tigers finally return home after a pair of ACC road games. But this may not be the cake walk many pundits expect. Tech always plays Clemson well, including in Death Valley. The Yellow Jackets’ triple option offense is capable of giving fits to the Tigers, who still have problems playing assignment football. But given how awful Tech’s defense has been the last couple of weeks, it only makes sense to expect Clemson to pour it on, especially with Sammy Watkins back and healthy at wide receiver.
Pick: Clemson, 45-28.
Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2) at Maryland (2-2, 0-0)
Where: College Park, MD, Byrd Stadium (54,000)
When: 3:30 p.m.
The blitz: Not having Michael Campanaro at wide receiver hamstrings the Demon Deacons, but Jim Grobe and his staff have managed success at Wake by being creative and constantly finding ways to overcome personnel disadvantages. Wake across the board is more experienced and may be more talented. But Maryland is surprisingly playing better defense, has been quite physical and is coming off an open date, while the Deacs have not played that well over the last three weeks.
Pick: Maryland, 24-19.
Miami (4-1) at No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0)
Where: Chicago, Soldier Field (61,500)
When: 7:30 p.m.
The blitz: This is a huge opportunity for the Hurricanes to make a national statement for themselves and the ACC. Miami hasn’t been consistent during the course of any game yet. The 'Canes have the ability to put some scores on the board, but can they consistently move the ball, and can they make enough plays on defense? The jury is out on Notre Dame, which beat Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue over the last three weeks, but hasn’t scored more than 20 points in any of those contests. Big plays by Miami could be the difference: Get a few and the 'Canes pull off the upset; don’t get more than two and they won’t.
Pick: Notre Dame, 28-17.
No. 3 Florida State (5-0, 2-0) at NC State (3-2, 0-1)
The blitz: A dangerous game for the
Seminoles. NC State has big-play potential and plenty of experience most everywhere on the field. It could also be an angry team that has something to prove. NCSU has done pretty well in the past under the lights against highly touted opponents.
FSU is so talented and its running game could really give the Pack some problems and then free up long plays, which the Wolfpack have been susceptible to in its loses to Tennessee and Miami. NCSU is getting flagged too much, allowing too many sacks and turning the ball over too often. It must cut down in all three areas to have a shot. FSU simply needs to do its thing and avoid making major mistakes to get the victory.